09/15/2009, 00.00
PHILIPPINES

Libmanan Church launches organic farming

by Santosh Digal
Diocese through the Prelature of Libmanan Development Foundation (Pldfi) helps small farmers to join cooperatives providing high technology for a better quality of agricultural production.

Naga City (AsiaNews) - More than 100 farmers in the city of Pamplona, South Camarines province (central Philippines), have developed systems of organic farming to reduce production costs, improve management and crop quality. The project began in 2005 with the aid of the Catholic organization Libmanan Development Foundation, Inc (PLDFI).

PLDFI Director, Fr. Granwell N. Pitapit states that "five years ago PLDFI began to promote organic farming methods among the farmers. This improves the poor irrigation systems, reduces the risks arising from the use of chemical fertilizers and helps farmers to address the effects of climate change".   He adds that "the Church is happy that the farmers have understood the usefulness of these new methods in their lives."

 Originally PLDFI brought together the top five neighbouring wheat growers cooperative, to help in fund management and improvement of fertilization techniques. Thanks to the success of this first initiative, it has managed to extend its work to the rest of the region and now offers, in addition to organizational support, seeds, technological know-how, education and medical care to the population.

"The use of organic farming has helped me and other farmers to achieve a better environmental and health awareness”, says Fernando Vera, a Libmanan farmer, adding that he wants to pass on these techniques to his children.

More than 500 thousand people live in the diocese of Libmanan. The political class of the province manages most resources, which has enhanced the economic development of the zone. The population still lives on fishing and farming small crops of rice and wheat. The literacy rate in the diocese is 68%.

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